chapter  Chapter 1
24 Pages

Modern Environmentalism

WithDavid Pepper

If we read much into the debate about ‘the environment’, we soon become aware of several factions at work. Each professes concern over the state of the ‘natural’ as well as the man-made environment, and agrees that our relationship with nature has, in some way, to be improved. But there the accord frequently ends and warfare breaks out. One has only to read Fry’s (1975) scathing remarks about Marxists or Bookchin’s (1980) vituperative comments about middle-class environmentalists – or even the popular American car sticker which says ‘If you’re hungry and out of work, go eat an environmentalist’ – to see that there is often no love lost between human beings who may have in common that they all think we should behave with more peaceful and harmonious intentions towards nature. Frequently this disagreement is a function of genuine ideological differences, but sometimes it simply results from ignorance or ill-based assumptions about what the other side stands for. This is partly because there is no clear-cut and easily circumscribed definition of environmentalists or environmentalism. Within the environmental movement there is a host of ideologies and cross-currents, and there are many classifications of them, which overlap and produce confusion.